6 Ways To Drink Properly (Or Get Properly Drunk) During The Holiday Season

It's the last few days of the work parties, and the family gatherings are about to begin. I don't really have much to say other than good luck, have fun and here are seven cocktails that are perfect for the weather and festivities that this time of year brings. Enjoy.


Usually egg nog is a heart attack in a glass, but this cheeky recipe that my good friend Dale DeGroff served me last week is slightly more manageable — as it contains very little cream. It's also a recipe that he adapted from the oldest cocktail book, Jerry Thomas's How to Mix Drinks, which continues to be one of the most reliable sources for a good mixed drink.

General Harrison's Egg Nog

2 oz Caña Brava Rum

4 oz apple cider

1 whole egg

2 bar spoons of fine sugar

2 dashes of DeGroffs Pimento Bitters

Shake ingredients vigorously with ice and strain into a wine goblet. Garnish with grated nutmeg.


Champagne still wins the prize of being the most festive of drinks, but if your house is anything like mine over the holidays, a bottle doesn't last long. So a good tip to keep that expensive Champagne lasting longing is mix it in a cocktail. You can opt for the classic Champagne Cocktail, which is a mix of Champagne, sugar and Angostura bitters. Or try this great recipe that Michael Madrusan invented at Little Branch in New York. It is inspired by a drink called the Serendipity that was invented at the Hemingway Bar in Paris.

The Fortune Cocktail

1 oz Applejack

½ oz lemon juice

½ oz simple syrup

Small handful of mint


Shake all ingredients (except champagne) with ice. Strain into a champagne flute and top with chilled champagne.


You have been walking in the freezing snow, or cold rain, and you walk in and somehow a cup of coffee won't quite do the trick....cue the hot toddy.

Here is a simple and easy recipe anyone can knock up in a few minutes.

The Hot Toddy

1 oz cognac, whisky or rum

2 bar spoons of honey

1 oz fresh lemon juice

Combine ingredients into a mug and top with hot water or tea.

And if you prefer coffee to tea or hot water I think that the cold weather always makes me want to drink an Irish Coffee.

Irish Coffee

1 oz Jameson's Irish Whiskey

Top with French pressed coffee

Float lightly whipped cream

Garnish with 3 coffee beans (1 for health, 1 for happiness and 1 for prosperity as the tradition goes)

The Irish Coffee is said to have been created in 1942 by bartender, Joe Sheridan at Foynes Airport). The recipe was passed on to the Buena Vista Café in San Francisco by a journalist called Stan Delaphane and the rest is history.


This is a recipe I served at an event I was a part of at Soho House New York. It is basically an old cocktail I invented called Mum's Apple Pie that my friend Jim Meehan included in the PDT Cocktail book that I have turned into a punch for everyone to share at house parties. It was everyone's favorite drink on the night so wanted to share it with you....

Soho Holiday Punch

16 oz Caña Brava Rum

8 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

4 oz demerara sugar syrup

24 oz Apple Cider

Orange peels, lemon peels, sugar

Muddle the peels of 5-6 lemons and oranges with 5 spoons of sugar into a punch bowl. Once the sugar has absorbed the oils from the peel remove them and add all other ingredients. Add ice to chill and garnish with cinnamon sticks, cloves and lemon & orange wheels.


After dinner at the Ford family dinner the cream liquors usually appear along with a bottle of Cognac for my grandmother – both are perfect digestives to taking inspiration from that my suggestion for a holiday digestive is the well know classic cocktail The Brandy Alexander.

The Brandy Alexander

1 oz Martell VSOP

1 oz Crème de cacao

2 oz heavy cream

Shake ingredients vigorously with ice and strain into a cocktail coup. Garnish with some grated nutmeg and some grated dark chocolate if you have plenty left over.


If you are celebrating somewhere warm then please ignore my suggestions and move straight to the daiquiris and pina coladas, or if you are feeling a little bit adventurous, try this lost tiki classic.....

BLUE HAWAIIAN (Harry Yee, circa 1957)

1/2 oz lemon juice

1 oz pineapple juice

1/4 oz simple syrup

1 tsp Coco Lopez

1/2 oz Senor Curacao blue curacao

1 1/2 oz Cana Brava rum

Shake with 3 ice cubes & strain into a wine glass over crushed ice. Garnish with a pineapple spear & a half orange wheel.